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Simba now ‘smell’ title

Following the victory, Simba officially dethroned Yanga, and now all that they should do is to win against Moro United and avoid defeat against struggling archrivals from Jangwani Street side to be crowned new champions.

Yanga suffered yet another defeat yesterday when Kagera Sugar snatched a 1-0 win against them at the Kaitaba Stadium in Bukoba.  At the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, Milovan Circkovic’s men gave their all after taking a deserved lead in the very first minute, when Selemani pounced on a low cross from Emmanuel Okwi and nodded home past custodian Amani Simba.  

Simba were two goals up on the 17th minute, when Moshi intercepted a poor pass by one JKT Ruvu defenders at the centre circle and strode all the way to easily beat the keeper with a low cheeky shot inside the box.  If Selemani, Kazimoto and Moshi were the match winners, in form Ugandan striker Emmanuel Okwi was again the hero, producing an impetus performance and was involved in almost every dangerous move that Simba created especially in the first half.

Selemani could have scored his second and the third for Simba on the 26th minute, had he properly connected a cross from the left fullback, Amir Maftah. Then sluggish but towering Central African Republic striker Gervais Kago failed to get his name on the score sheet on the 41st minute, when he was set up by a header by Selemani inside the area but the former headed over the crossbar.

JKT Ruvu retained their composure and threatened a minute later, when midfielder, Mohamed Banka, juggled  his way  past a couple of Simba defenders on the edge of the box but his pin point cross went begging.The army men could have pulled one back a minute before half time, when the team’s beautifully crafted move from the midfield ended with one of the strikers failing to get at the end of his team mate’s cross from the right.

That left Simba commanding a 2-0 lead at half time.  Simba pushed forward on resumption and went close twice in search of a resounding win. In one of the attempts, right fullback, Shomari Kapombe initiated a nice one two with Selemani down the right on the 53rd minute but his good cross went begging. Diminutive midfielder Kazimoto then banged in the third for Simba midway in the second half with a 30 metres drive that left keeper Simba sprawling helplessly on the turf. Ruvu keeper, Simba made a point blank save to deny Selemani, who was set up by Kago deep in the half.

Ruvu still managed to carve out good chances despite trailing by three goals, only to be let down by poor finishing.   Simba now hauled 56 points from 24 games and have opened a six point gap with second placed Azam FC. The Msimbazi Street side has been in control of the driver’s seat in this year’s league for long spells and that says a lot on the team’s desire to win the silverware. In Kagera, former Simba striker Shija Mkina struck in the 31st minute to give hosts Kagera Sugar a deserved win against Yanga.

Simba, Azam FC and Yanga had, until a couple of weeks ago, engaged in a serious battle for the top honour but, with Yanga having dropped crucial three points in their match against Coastal Union on March 10 this year, the defending champions were effectively dealt a huge blow in their title retention bid. A 3-2 defeat that Y

anga conceded to Toto African at the CCM Kirumba Stadium in Mwanza last Sunday has further seen the Jangwani Street side’s hopes of laying hands on silverware for the second consecutive year go up in smokes as the team is still glued to the third position with 43 points.

Yanga, for that matter, needed to win their yesterday match against Kagera Sugar to at least harbour hopes of snatching the second position but that will depend on poor performance on the part of second-placed Azam FC, which will host Mtibwa Sugar in a tricky duel at the Azam Complex at Chamazi, on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam on Saturday.

TAIFA Stars received heroic welcome in Dar es ...

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Author: JAPHETH KAZENGA

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